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When you have a porn addiction relapse: It’s not over

If you are in the midst of a porn addiction relapse, it’s easy to end up in a negative thought spiral. You might feel like a failure. You might feel worthless. You might feel like giving up. But while these feelings are common, that does not make them true. Recovery from any addiction is a process. It’s not 100% all at once, and it frequently involves making several fresh starts. If you’ve had a porn addiction relapse, it’s not over. You can continue on your journey right now. Start here:

Tell someone.

Hopefully, part of your addiction recovery involves having some kind of accountability partner. Call/text/grab coffee with that person right away. Tell them what happened and how you’re feeling. Don’t let shame shut you up. Tell the truth, and get support from someone who’s always in your corner.

Identify the chink in your armor.

If you’ve suffered a relapse, try to identify where your boundaries were breached so you can work to prevent it from happening again. Were you out of town with access to an unfiltered computer? Were you staying up too late scrolling idly on your phone? Did an emotional event or a rejection trigger a time of vulnerability? If you can pinpoint how and when you were triggered, you will be better armed in the future.

A porn addiction relapse is not the end. It’s a new beginning.

Don’t beat yourself up after a relapse. Use it as fuel to start again, and start again now. “Relapse is not a failure but instead a common — and very frustrating — part of recovery from addiction. The truth is that many recovering addicts have one or more relapses: Up to 60% of patients who receive substance abuse treatment will relapse within one year, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. What’s most important to understand is that recovery is a lifelong healing process and relapse is a sign that you need to re-evaluate and modify your strategy. It’s also a mistake to think to yourself, Oh, this is it. I’m going downhill again and there’s nothing I can do about it. That’s just not true. Instead, start by recognizing that you did slip and redouble your efforts to overcome your cravings and urges and better understand and control your triggers. You don’t have to have all the answers right now. What’s most important is your desire to move past your relapse and forward with your recovery.” –Addiction.com

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